In an earlier article I went over one of the decks I came up with for January’s Hero of the Month, Beorn. The deck was designed with the focus of dealing with enemies, with Merry and Beorn teaming up to lay waste to a good amount of enemies. Lore Pippin gave us the opportunity to engage enemies when we’d like as well as providing us with a much needed draw engine in a tactics heavy deck. Lastly, the deck consisted of all three Ents seen so far: Booming Ent, Wandering Ent, and of course… Treebeard.
The deck was not designed to be solo, however, and since it primarily dealt with combat I wanted to make a deck to compliment it that handled the other huge priority of this game… Questing.
I’ve called this deck (and please be kind, as I’ve mentioned I’m bad with naming things) The Fair Maidens Three. It is a mono spirit deck that does all you’d expect Spirit to typically handle: questing, location control, threat management and cancellation effects. With some other cards added in I’ve given it a few other functions but the above tasks remain the key focus of the deck.
To help make this possible I have decided to use three very powerful female characters. The first, and probably most powerful, is none other than Lady Galadriel. She was the first Hero I wanted to use in conjunction with the Beorn deck and so some of the cards are tailored specifically around her. Her threat management is negligible to what I want (for now). Her card draw ability and ally ability, on the other hand, have proven to be interesting and have been quite useful at the moment. The second Hero is the quintessential questing Hero, if not the most overused, Eowyn. Her main role here is of course to exhaust and quest away. I mostly wanted to include her as a way to dump cards I no longer need between the two decks. The third and final Hero is Idraen, though not a canonical character she is one of the Dunedain and therefore I feel safe to say quite a powerful woman. Her stats and more importantly her defense, were what drew me to her and since I would be trying to push through some locations her readying effect works hand in hand.
Among the key cards in the deck, two are focused on Galadriel. This deck contains three copies of Galadriel’s ring, Nenya, and two copies of the notorious Mirror of Galadriel. I have toyed around with including a third copy of the mirror and I still may yet do so but right now two has done just fine. Nenya of course allows Galadriel to transfer her mighty willpower of four to another character currently on the quest. It also gives her access to the Lore Sphere though I have not experimented with this other function yet. The Mirror is a clutch card as it can fetch us pretty much whatever we want, whenever we want. Worst case scenario we dig through ten cards and if we don’t find the card we want we should be able to find something that is second best. Of course we always run the risk of ditching the card right back and I have to say I have had some terrible luck with this card. One quest I played I had used the Mirror to fetch roughly five cards and had an average of four or five cards in hand at a given time and all but one of those times did I get to keep the card I chose. I digress (just had to rage a little). All that aside The Mirror is amazing when it works and if you don’t want to risk using it then you don’t have to. In that sort of scenario you can then ditch it if you get any attachment hating treachery and won’t feel any true loss. So far I have found The Mirror and Nenya to be amazing cards and I can’t imagine switching them out anytime soon.
Though we have five different allies, I find three of them to be the most useful at the moment. The first is the classic Arwen Undomiel. Not only does she provide some always useful willpower to the quest, her ability to provide +1 Defense and sentinel works well with Idraen who I have set up as this deck’s defender (should it need one). The next card is a thematic one and comes in the form of Galadriel’s Handmaiden. Like Arwen, the Handmaiden provides a nice two willpower to the quest and her low cost means I can always play her for free. In the late game I have found that I can commit her to the quest for two and then with Galadriel’s ability negating the Handmaiden’s need to exhaust I am given a chump block should the need arise. Her ability to lower threat is a constant plus and I was able to keep the threat of this deck and the Beorn deck below 35 threat nearly all the time. Lastly is another two willpower ally and though I may switch him out at some point he is here to stay for the time being. That ally is Bilbo Baggins. Like the previous two allies he too provides a nice boost of willpower to the quest. I added him however for his ability to fetch pipes, and whether I continue to use this strategy has yet to be seen.
Which brings me to attachments! Let’s just get the obvious one out of the way. I have included three copies of Hobbit Pipes to this deck. There is one for the three hobbits that are likely to be on the field. One for dear Bilbo and the other two for Merry and Pippin who are included in the other deck. Though the pipes aren’t vital by any means I have found that the card draw bonus they provide here and there are beneficial not only because I get to dig through my deck but I can also thin my deck by ditching any of the unwanted drawn cards to fuel Eowyn’s willpower. Like The Mirror of Galadriel the pipes also serve as good fodder for when I have to get rid of an attachment thanks to an encounter card. Also included in the attachments are some toys for Idraen. I have, for now, added two copies of both Thror’s Key and Warden of Arnor. The first, Thror’s key, only came out in a session where I ultimately lost. I must say though that the key did remove what could have been a nasty location and at the very least kept me in the game a few rounds longer. The Warden of Arnor has not proven so useful but I attribute that mostly to the quest itself as one location prevented me from putting progress on locations in the staging area. When that location wasn’t in play the Warden helped me inch my way through locations, turning these huge buffers of quest points into minor hiccups. There are also three copies of Blood of Numenor to be placed on Idraen. I haven’t been able to really dump a lot of resources on her so far but when they do build up Idraen turns into a reliable defender, especially in conjunction with Arwen. I hope to tweak the other deck a little more to maybe boost Idraen’s resource generation. A key attachment not focused on any one hero is Unexpected Courage. I have three copies of this staple attachment to be placed on any character really except Eowyn. On Idraen I am guaranteed a readying effect should a location not be explored. Then if I am fortunate and have yet to exhaust Unexpected Courage I can then use it to defend or attack multiple times. This can also be useful on Galadriel, allowing her to transfer her willpower to a character at the start of the round and then provide threat management and card draw at the end after she readies and exhausts again. If I need to I can also attach one of these to Merry from the other deck turning him into an attacking monstrosity.
Among the events I have three copies of Test of Will and Hasty Stroke. I can’t imagine running spirit without these events and since this deck is meant to be played with a second we are more likely to come across nasty encounter cards than if we were playing pure solo. Two copies of Dwarven Tomb means that I can have extra copies of those cancellation events or any other attachment or ally that I may need in a pinch and as always it can at least be fodder for Eowyn. I have included two threat reduction events as well. The most efficient is Elrond’s Council which can not only boost my willpower but keep my threat at a minimum so that the Beorn deck can keep picking up the enemies. The other event is the always useful Galadhrim’s Greeting. I have so far only used it’s second threat reduction effect. This keeps both deck’s threats rather low and if the hobbit pipes are out allows both decks to gain a card from it as well. I have been happy with this combo so far which is why I don’t know if I want to get rid of the pipes yet.
Lastly I want to go over the remainder cards especially because I don’t know if they still have a home. These cards are Ride them Down, Favor of the Lady, Rider of the Mark, and Northern Tracker. So far I have not had a chance to use Ride them Down and have found it more useful to chuck it to Eowyn. I still want to give this card a chance and since I only have added two copies it doesn’t seem like a burden yet. Favor of the Lady is starting to seem too costly for me and I may just replace it with a better ally in the future. Rider of the Mark, like Ride them Down, has yet to see action as I find myself using my resources for cheaper cards. The same is true for the Northern Tracker. I have found it to be quite expensive and have not had much success once it’s out on the table. To be fair this could be specific to the quest and I will keep the tracker in for the time being. The biggest reason is thanks to Galadriel. When the tracker hits the table it commits but doesn’t exhaust. I get to place progress on several locations and then since it didn’t exhaust I now have a half decent defender which isn’t always an occurrence in spirit.
I have enjoyed this deck tremendously so far and am really excited to tweak it and its sister deck more and more until they become well tuned. They have worked well together and I can’t wait to see what more they can do. With the other deck including Treebeard I can only dream of a Spirit Sphere aligned Ent Ally in the future (fingers crossed).
What are your thoughts? Have you had a chance to use the Mirror yet and if so how much success has it brought you? Please let me know and as always all feedback and comments are greatly appreciated!
-The Secondhand Took
Deck: The Fair Maidens Three
1x Eowyn (Core Set)
1x Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
1x Idraen (The Three Trials)
3x Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
2x Rider of the Mark (Road to Rivendell)
3x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
3x Hobbit Pipe (The Black Riders)
2x Mirror of Galadriel (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x The Favor of the Lady (Core Set)
2x Thror’s Key (On the Doorstep)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Warden of Anor (The Three Trials)
3x Nenya (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
3x Blood of Numenor (Heirs of Numenor)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)
2x Ride Them Down (The Antlered Crown)
3x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)